California Public Records Act Request: San Mateo County Coroner case details

Kyra Senese filed this request with the Office of the Coroner of San Mateo County, CA .
Est. Completion None
Status
Fix Required

Communications

From: Kyra Senese


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the California Public Records Act, I hereby request the following records:

I am seeking case records of deaths in San Mateo County dating Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2019. Please respond with the following information for each case:

- case number
- decedent name
- date of death
- location of death
- race
- ethnicity
- age
- gender
- occupation/industry
- whether injury/infection occurred at work
- incident location (street address, city, state, ZIP where injury/infection occurred)
- incident date
- decedent residence (street address, city, state, ZIP)
- cause(s) of death (indicating if COVID related)
- contributing factors
- any other accessible, non-exempt information contained in electronic case records

This request is part of an ongoing collaboration involving the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University, the MuckRock Foundation and partner newsrooms across the country. This request is part of a news-gathering process and is intended for educational, not commercial use.

We request expedited processing to the extent possible. This information is critical to the public’s understanding of the coronavirus pandemic and its local impact on public health. Let us know if we can help clarify this request in any way. Please also consider waiving any fees for producing the requested records.

Please provide the data in spreadsheet format as an e-mail attachment.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. We look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the statute requires.

--
Kyra Senese
Brown Institute for Media Innovation
Columbia University
630-608-8844

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Kyra Senese

From: Office of the Coroner

Good morning Kyra,

I forwarded your message to my colleague, Elizabeth Ortiz, on 10/15 to handle. I believe that she had spoken to you and referred you to Vital Statistics. She will follow-up with you today to confirm.

Thank you,

K'Lynn Solt, D-ABMDI

Chief Deputy Coroner, badge #2

San Mateo County, Office of the Coroner
50 Tower Road, San Mateo, CA 94402

Main (650) 312-5562

Direct (650) 312-5295
Fax (650) 571-6258

PONY COR354

http://coroner.smcgov.org/

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San Mateo County Cares about providing excellent and courteous public service. Please take a moment to complete a survey of the Coroner's Office: http://coroner.smcgov.org/webforms/san-mateo-county-cares

From: Office of the Coroner

Good morning Kyra,

When I spoke with you on the afternoon of 10/15/2020, you stated you were rescinding your request and would be submitting it to the San Mateo County Vital Statistics Office instead. Did I misunderstand you? Let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

Kind regards,

Elizabeth Ortiz, D-ABMDI
Supervising Deputy Coroner #3

San Mateo County Coroner's Office
50 Tower Road
San Mateo, California 94402
Direct: (650) 312-5272
Office: (650) 312-5562
Fax: (650) 571-6258

PONY COR354

http://coroner.smcgov.org/

[cid:9511c584-cbfe-4767-8855-7a2b6c350fbe][cid:2a613163-b4c0-4288-b45b-a2e7a7d63ce3]

San Mateo County Cares about providing excellent and courteous public service. We would like to know if we are succeeding and how we can do better. Please take a moment to complete the Coroner's Office survey http://coroner.smcgov.org/webforms/san-mateo-county-cares

From: Kyra Senese

Hi Elizabeth,

My apologies for the confusion. We would like to proceed with the request to your office to gain whatever insight is available. I spoke with a contact at the office of vital statistics who said they could not really help us because they would only have individual death certificates and no spreadsheet style format or database to share with us. I will also refile with the health department to see what else we can do.

Thank you,
Kyra Senese
630-608-8844

From: Office of the Coroner

Dear Ms. Senese—

This email confirms receipt of your October 27, 2020 request under the California Public Records Act for the following:

“[R]ecords of deaths in San Mateo County dating Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2019. Please respond with the following information for each case:

- case number
- decedent name
- date of death
- location of death
- race
- ethnicity
- age
- gender
- occupation/industry
- whether injury/infection occurred at work
- incident location (street address, city, state, ZIP where injury/infection occurred)
- incident date
- decedent residence (street address, city, state, ZIP)
- cause(s) of death (indicating if COVID related)
- contributing factors.”

Pursuant to Government Code Section 6253(c), the Coroner’s Office has determined that your request, in whole or in part, seeks copies of disclosable public records. In responding to your request, the Coroner’s Office asserts, and reserves the continuing right to assert, all applicable exemptions, including, without limitation, information protection by applicable privilege (Gov. Code, § 6254(k)), preliminary drafts, notes, or interagency or intra-agency memoranda (Gov. Code, § 6254(a)), photographs depicting decedents (Code of Civ. Proc., § 129), confidential medical records (Civ. Code, § 56.10, et seq.), other private/sensitive information the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy (Gov. Code, § 6254(c)), and records for which the public interest served by not disclosing clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure (Gov. Code, § 6255).

At the outset, please note that the Coroner’s Office is not aware of any COVID-19 deaths in San Mateo County for 2019, the time period covered by your request.

Please also note that the following information requested will not be captured in any non-exempt responsive records of the Coroner’s Office: decedent’s ethnicity; decedent’s occupation/industry; whether an injury/infection occurred at work; incident (as opposed to death) location; incident (as opposed to death) date. Moreover, regarding a decedent’s residence, only the city and zip code is available, not the street address.

The Coroner’s Office has in its possession daily press reports, which provide the following information: (1) case number; (2) date of death; (3) name of decedent; (4) age of decedent; and (5) decedent’s city of residence. In addition, the Coroner’s Office has daily deputy reports, which provide the following information: (1) case number; (2) date/time of death; (3) name of decedent; (4) age of decedent; (4) decedent’s city of residence; and (5) manner (not cause) of death. Those records covering the entirety of 2019 can be provided to you immediately without charge.

If, however, you still require the remaining requested non-exempt information for 2019 in the possession of the Coroner’s Office—specifically, (1) race and gender of decedent, (2) cause of death, and (3) any contributing factors—that information would need to be extracted from each case by hand and then compiled in a spreadsheet. Doing so will be time- and labor-intensive and, therefore, the Coroner’s Office will charge you the costs of compiling the records pursuant to Government Code Section 6253.9. The costs will likely be substantial and, in light of current COVID-19-related circumstances, the response will likely take quite some time. If you would prefer that the Coroner’s Office perform this extraction and compilation, please let me know and I will provide you an estimate of both the costs and response time.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any additional questions or concerns.

Elizabeth Ortiz, D-ABMDI
Supervising Deputy Coroner #3

San Mateo County Coroner's Office
50 Tower Road
San Mateo, California 94402
Direct: (650) 312-5272
Office: (650) 312-5562
Fax: (650) 571-6258

PONY COR354

http://coroner.smcgov.org/

[cid:9511c584-cbfe-4767-8855-7a2b6c350fbe][cid:2a613163-b4c0-4288-b45b-a2e7a7d63ce3]

San Mateo County Cares about providing excellent and courteous public service. We would like to know if we are succeeding and how we can do better. Please take a moment to complete the Coroner's Office survey http://coroner.smcgov.org/webforms/san-mateo-county-cares

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